Browsing: Reviews

Reviews The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Super-Bowl-Trailer

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shines with such an impressive amount of spirit that it’s too bad it is spread over such a broad canvas. The youthful charge director Marc Webb brings to this Marvel sequel is scattered across so much plot that viewers are only left with a diffuse understanding of what, in theory, the movie is about.

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The consumption of film is an evolving concept. At one point the only way to see a movie was in a theater during its initial run. You could not escape the communal aspect of the film. However, as technology advances we seem to move further away from this deeper cinematic community. VHS brought films to the household…

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Bhutan is the only country in the world to have a measurement scale for happiness In 2008, it became a constitutional monarchy. Most of the country has been isolated from the rest of the modern world. King Jigme Wangchuck approved the introduction of television and Internet in 1999 as a means of improving the…

Film Festival hummus2

Just watch it. Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story does not waste your time. Food-loving filmmaker couple Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer, of Vancouver, follow their multi-award-winning doc The Clean Bin Project (a 2010 film in which the couple strives to live waste-free for a year) with a different waste-avoidance project, to…

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It’s hard to be unbiased about this film. My Colombian parents learned a lot of their English by watching Sesame Street. They were always seeking to improve their pronunciation, therefore, when I was born we’d all sit and watch The Children’s Television Network together. My favorite character has always been Cookie Monster, but something about Big Bird always stood out. He pretty much asked all the questions we were burning to ask as kids. His comments would sometimes come out as funny or naive, but he knew what to ask. Oscar the Grouch was easily the coolest punk around. There’s no denying that.

Film Festival selfless-portrait

There are two ways of looking at Danic Champoux’s innovative documentary Self(less) Portrait. On the one hand it is a unique, insightful window into the human soul and all its most secret thoughts and darkest of dreams. On the other hand it is an exploitative and voyeuristic account of the confessions of troubled and vulnerable people who are probably in need of counselling with greater validity than of a simple camera. It is unarguable that this film treads a fine line in teasing both sides of this delicate balance.

Self(less) Portrait operates within a simple, functional premise. From a virtually fixed camera position fifty people drawn from every facet of society and each exhibiting unique and interesting qualities are encouraged to bare their souls. Their stories vary from simple tales of affection to disturbing accounts of abuse and self loathing resulting in suicide attempts and depression. The one connecting and slightly tragically hopeful connection between them all is love, or at least each person’s perception of this elusive emotion. Every person documented has either a personal and intimate story of love or are clearly giving the impression they are in search of or in desperate need of it. For some this is as simple as black and white; when you fall in love, well, you fall in love. Others have slightly more convoluted versions to tell but each relates back to this constant in some way.

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As a society, we have a tenuous relationship with mental illness. With all of our complexities, it has been a fixture and spot of confusion in the lives of humans for as long as we have existed. There is a fear associated with these sicknesses, a fear of the unknown, a fear of the different. Our past ignorance had the sick being stored away in institutions, like badly behaved livestock meant to be forgotten rather than treated. There has been a change in society’s consciousness toward mental illness, but to call it advanced is decidedly inaccurate. It remains an unwieldy creature that beguiles the understanding of most. Out of Mind, Out of Sight paints a picture of the current state of mental institutions, although it doesn’t add all that much to the conversation.

Reviews The-OTher-Woman

What do you get when you take a slightly amusing premise, attractive and talented stars, poor timing, unfunny jokes and broad comedy? The Other Woman is what you get. Director Nick Cassavetes (son of legendary indie writer/director John Cassavetes and equally legendary actress Gina Rowlands) has fashioned a film that sets the bar so low it’s nearly on the ground and still manages to sneak under it.

In the beginning, we follow a budding romance between Carly (Cameron Diaz) and Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones fame). They’ve been together eight weeks and she’s quite smitten with him. So much so that her secretary/assistant Lydia (Nicki Minaj) is impressed that Carly refers to him by name and not a generalized nickname and Carly agrees to have Mark meet her father Frank (Don Johnson, who it’s nice to see out and about, even if it is in this movie.). Mark comes up with an excuse that a pipe burst in his Connecticut home and has to go wait for the plumber and misses the meet and greet with Frank. Carly decides to go to his house dressed as a sexy plumber but to her surprise, Kate (Leslie Mann) answers the door and tells her she’s his wife. After a tremendously unfunny display of prat falls and awkwardness, Carly walks away ungracefully on a broken heel.

Reviews the_girl_and_death_2012_2

So opens the poem by the great Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin that plays a central role in Dutch director Jos Stelling’s period romance The Girl and Death. It’s verse quoted devoutly by the central character, a physician passing through Germany who begins a dogged years-long love affair with a young tuberculosis sufferer he meets there—a doomed affair not unlike that between Pushkin and the woman to whom his poem was dedicated. If the link serves to lend literary weight to the movie’s romance, though, it’s all the better at incidentally pointing toward the problems that pull it right back again.

Film Festival absences_LG_6

Absences from acclaimed French-Canadian filmmaker Carole Laganiere is a melancholy tale chronicling four unconnected individuals as they each reach a crucial point in their lives, and who have each been affected by an absent parent or sibling. Nathalie is searching for a sister who has been missing for several years; Ines is a Croatian immigrant travelling home to meet the mother who abandoned her as a small child. For Laganiere though, hers is rather poignant in that she is coming to terms with the imminent absence of a mother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and who struggles daily to maintain a hold on reality.

The difficulty with this film is in its personal connection with the audience. How much the subject matter and the tragic tales within affect you as a viewer will more than likely be directly related to your own life experiences and whether you have encountered any of the issues raised. The stories are distinctly personal and obviously hugely relevant to the people involved but they may perhaps not resonate with a general audience. There are moments of genuine emotion but these are few and far between and you find yourself asking more questions than there are answers provided. When the daughter finally meets the mother who left her, her father and her brother for another man without a word of goodbye there is little in the way of recriminations. This comes across as unrealistic, incredibly forgiving or just edited.

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